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Dinner Together: Pappardelle dish transcends seasons

Pappardelle with Roasted Winter Squash, Arugula and Pine Nuts is an easy, filling winter meal.
Pappardelle with Roasted Winter Squash, Arugula and Pine Nuts is an easy, filling winter meal.

This month’s Dinner Together dish pairs perfectly with the weather – winter’s glory mixed together with the promise of spring.

Anchored by oven-roasted winter squash and punctuated by peppery arugula, this pasta is quick and satisfying. It manages to be both hearty and light. Swap out one of those winter comfort casseroles for this vegetarian meal and you won’t miss the post-meal heaviness one bit.

This dish delivers some easy elegance as well as few calories. The recipe is originally from Cooking Light magazine, and it was republished in the 2010 Cooking Light cookbook, “Cooking Through the Seasons.”

There is just a single tablespoon of butter and 2 ounces of cheese to coat the wide ribbons of noodles. That might sound skimpy, but the butter is infused with enough garlic and sage that you really don’t want more. A bit of reserved pasta water stretches it just enough.

The recipe calls for Asiago cheese, but Parmesan is a fine substitute. Also, pine nuts are expensive so swap for walnuts or pecans if you don’t have them on hand. And don’t feel like you have to splurge on fresh sage to make this dish shine. I used a scant tablespoon of dried rubbed sage from the spice cabinet, and it was delicious.

If you must add meat, a bit of pan-fried prosciutto or leftover cubes of roasted chicken or turkey would work nicely.

Pappardelle with Roasted Winter Squash, Arugula, and Pine Nuts

From Cooking Light’s “Cooking Through the Seasons,” published in 2010.

4 cups (1-inch) cubed, peeled butternut squash

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

Cooking spray

8 ounces uncooked pappardelle

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups trimmed arugula

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Asiago cheese

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Combine squash, vinegar, oil and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 475 degrees for 25 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

While squash bakes, cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon cooking liquid.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts, sage and garlic; cook 3 minutes or just until the pine nuts begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Place pasta, reserved cooking liquid, pine nut mixture, and squash mixture in a large bowl; toss gently to combine. Add remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt, arugula, cheese and black pepper; toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 270 calories, 8.2 grams fat (3.5 grams saturated), 9.8 grams protein, 41.6 grams carbohydrate, 14 milligrams cholesterol, 4.8 grams dietary fiber, 249 milligrams sodium.

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